The Animated Future: A Few Words with Sarah Drasner

Sarah Drasner is a core member of the Vue team, Lead of Emerging Markets with the Cloud Advocates team at Microsoft, and an inveterate pusher of the boundaries of the web with experiments and techniques like those found in her CodePen Public Pens, her GitHub account, and her articles at CSS-Tricks. We chatted with her for a few minutes between projects.

What motivates you to keep doing everything you do?

I have been passionate about the web and building weird projects on it for about 14 years. I’m a naturally curious person, so my projects range from SVG, three.js, and d3.js, to Serverless, Vue, Node, performance, you name it. I’m basically a web dev puppy. These days, at Microsoft, I get to do fun stuff with Azure Functions and Cognitive Services—that is, machine learning. For example, I have one that generates alt text from images, attempting to both what they are and capture any text inside the image, like there will be in most memes.

Besides the great stuff you’ve personally created, what are some tools you can’t live without?

  • For building applications, I really adore Vue and using Nuxt to get easy server-side rendering, page transitions, and routing.
  • In terms of animation tooling, my go-to is GreenSock because it is extremely intuitive and since they’ve been working on it for a decade, there are so many plugins, utilities, and finite offerings that other libraries haven’t thought of.
  • I typically still use CSS animations and transitions for smaller interactions, and have had so much fun lately playing with the combination of three.js and requestAnimationFrame for more immersive, exploratory experiences on the web.
  • For data visualizations, I love d3.js. It’s the Swiss Army knife of visualization tools, capable of so many different kinds of rendering, and domain/range capabilities.

I’ve also been super interested in combining CSS grid and flexbox to build interesting web layouts, though I’m no Rachel Andrew, Jen Simmons, or Mina Markham. [But really, who is? –Ed.]

What do you see coming in web animation?

There’s so much that the web is capable of! For example, at An Event Apart, I have a talk about the Future of Animation, and I’m so excited to give it! Usually I talk about foundational material when it comes to animation, but I think people are ready to go to the next level. Although we’ll be exploring quite a bit of code, my talk is for designers and developers alike. I’m covering what we can look forward to in the future, from teaching utility to accessibility, mesmerizing experiences that push the boundaries of what humans can create and build. It’s gonna be fun!

Catch Sarah’s talk “Animation on the Bleeding Edge” at An Event Apart Washington DC (July 29-31, 2019) and Denver (October 28-30). Don’t miss your chance to see Sarah and sixteen other world-class speakers!

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